This upcoming season is looking increasingly likely to be full of adjustment and transition. Few absolutes can be obtained from the current Liverpool squad. With many fans, including myself, adopting a “let’s see what happens” attitude will be a necessary coping mechanism following a disappointing 2022-23 campaign. This is understandable considering the departure of many reliable Liverpool stalwarts. Bobby Firmino, Jordan Henderson, and Fabinho are out while Dominik Szoboszlai and Alex Mac Allister are in. So much roster turnover and talent to infuse but one big thing is for sure, our new vice-captain is poised to have a massive year.
A multitude of reasons present themselves as to why I believe the Scouser in our team will probably be our best player this coming season. Both on and off the pitch, Trent Alexander-Arnold is being set up for success.
Towards the end of last season, Jurgen Klopp employed a noteworthy systemic alteration. After the season unraveled, it was time to experiment. The German deployed a box midfield system that changed shape once they gained possession. Maximizing Trent’s passing range with an inverted right-back role was a large part of the change. It’s safe to say that change paid off. Liverpool won seven of their last ten games with the new vice-captain notching a goal and seven assists. After many a debacle, Trent once again proved he could be the squad’s most versatile creator. That brief peak into the future makes us look forward instead of towards that uninspiring last campaign.
VICE-CAPTAIN: A NEW LEADERSHIP ROLE
As everybody will have probably heard by now, or at least figured out from the first few paragraphs hopefully, Alexander-Arnold became new captain Virgil van Dijk’s vice-captain following the departures of Jordan Henderson and James Milner. This puts the 24-year-old in a unique position. He will not only be asked to take on a new role over a full season, but he will also be doing so as an appointed locker room leader. Many believe Trent might be a bit too inexperienced on the leadership side of things, but there is no time like the present to gain some experience in such a role.
There is immense pressure on the club to return to the levels that we’re used to under Jurgen Klopp. Trent has the opportunity to impact things both on and off the pitch in his new role. Regardless of how you feel about the timing of his vice-captaincy, Trent has proved people wrong before. Getting into the conversation about being the best right-back in the world doesn’t happen if you’re a mental pushover. Certain players shrink from the spotlight when given more responsibility. However, I back Trent to shine and do so brightly as the club’s new co-skipper.
A WAY-TOO-EARLY PREDICTION
I’ve never been a fan of early predictions. However, I’m willing to bet that Trent Alexander-Arnold will be among the, if not the best, players wearing a Liverpool shirt next season. As mentioned, the new system registers Trent as the focal point. Given his talent, he will undoubtedly maximize this focus. He is essentially our quarterback with a full-field view of our attacking line. TAA will surely be licking his lips to fire off pinpoint passes to the likes of Salah, Jota, Gakpo, Diaz, and Nunez. Expect a ton of goals from this season and a ton of assists from Trent. Throw in a couple of screamers from the lad in there for good measure. I might be putting my neck on the line here, but also expect the LFC Player of the Year award for our vice-captain as well.